Quincy Jones says he wouldn’t have worked with Elvis Presley: “He was a racist”

The producer and musician was speaking about the late singer in a new interview

Quincy Jones has said that he wouldn’t have worked with Elvis Presley, alleging in a new interview that the late singer “was a racist”.

The 88-year-old musician and producer made the claim while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter as part of their new Icon series.

Jones was asked about Presley by the outlet after he compared Michael Jackson to the singer while recalling the filming of the 1978 film The Wiz.

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“[Jackson] was doing some Elvis copying, too. ‘The King of Pop,’ man. Come on!” Jones said. Asked if he ever worked with Presley, Jones replied: “No. I wouldn’t work with him.”

Pressed on why not, Jones continued: “I was writing for [orchestra leader] Tommy Dorsey, oh God, back then in the ’50s. And Elvis came in, and Tommy said: ‘I don’t want to play with him.’ He was a racist mother — I’m going to shut up now.

Quincy Jones (Picture: Getty)

“But every time I saw Elvis, he was being coached by [‘Don’t Be Cruel’ songwriter] Otis Blackwell, telling him how to sing,” he added. THR notes that Blackwell told David Letterman in 1987 that he and Presley had never met.

NME has contacted representatives of Elvis Presley’s estate for comment on Jones’ remarks.

Jones was also asked about the anti-racism protests which took place across the world last year following the death of George Floyd.

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“It’s been coming a long time, man,” Jones said. “People have been turning their heads the other way, but it’s all the same to me — misogyny, racism. You have to be taught how to hate somebody. It doesn’t come naturally, I don’t think. I don’t think so, unless you’ve been trained. I just think it’s such a bad habit.”

Back in February Jones was named on an advisory board to help support musicians in the US who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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